Ok, a warning first and foremost: this story is very different from my other Dr. Who fic! This story contains/will contain mild non-consensual sex, master/servant issues, and dark psychological drama. If you don't like this sort of thing, I strongly suggest you NOT read this one! If you don't scare easily, by all means read on. If you chose to read this, feedback is very appreciated. For those of you worried about my other story, fear not: I will have it finished within the next few days barring unforeseen events.

Disclaimer: The BBC definitely owns Dr. Who, because if I did, the series would've been very different! This is fanfiction and not for profit, only the love of the show and what things can happen in an alternate universe.


I met a traveler from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-Percy Bysshe Shelley


"How on Earth could I have lost my scarf?"

He wasn't talking to anyone, of course. Unless you counted himself, or the TARDIS. But that didn't matter. It didn't matter that Leela was gone, or that he was off course again. What mattered was that his scarf was missing.

He only took it off when he changed clothes. He hadn't done that yet today. Had he?

For a split second the doctor doubted his sanity. Then he snorted and continued stomping through the TARDIS.

After several hours he sat down at the control console, tired and puzzled. He glanced round with a sigh. "You haven't made off with it, have you old girl?" He asked the TARDIS.

There was, of course, no audible reply, but the doctor had the distinct impression that his searching amused the TARDIS.

"Don't get too cocky, now," he muttered. "I could always recalibrate your main sensor relays with the sonic screwdriver."

As if in response to that, the doctor felt the TARDIS pull hard to the left. "Here now, I wasn't serious!" He exclaimed.

But that didn't stop it from jolting, with a force that sent him stumbling to the floor. He pulled himself up and worked at the controls, only to find that it wasn't helping. Familiar sounds began to emanate: the TARDIS was landing.

Landing. With no warning, no direction on his part.

He blew a fierce breath and wagged a finger midair. "Typical of you."

Well, he decided, might as well see what was afoot. He pulled his hat on, then changed his mind and removed it. He ran a hand along his neck, missing the feel of the rough wool beneath his fingertips. With one final disgusted look, he strode to the door, opened it, and stepped outside.

He didn't know where he was.

And he knew exactly where he was.

He frowned at the paradoxical thoughts. Either he did or he didn't. The problem was, he wasn't sure which impression was the right one. He squinted against the fierce light of two suns and surveyed his surroundings.

It was a wasteland. There was no better way to describe it. White sand bleached the ground for as far as his eyes could see. No flowers, no wildlife, no water... nothing else.

"How did I get here?" He whispered aloud. "Why did I come here? Why is this place forsaken, and why do I feel that it didn't always used to be?"

"Because it wasn't," a soft male voice said from behind him.

The doctor whirled around, and came face to face with himself.

Or rather, with one of his future selves. There was the other TARDIS, about ten feet behind his. A younger chap, dressed in a long green velvet coat and white silk shirt opened at the throat. His hair was light brown and it curled against his neck. He had wide blue eyes that watched his past self with utter calm. Not a bad looking fellow, the doctor decided. Then a flood of questions poured into his thoughts.

"What are you doing here? Which one are you? How did you get me here, and why?"

His other self sighed. "In no particular order, I'm the eighth, I created a Synergy wave, and I've been waiting for you."

"The eighth?" Despite himself the doctor shivered a little. He was four, which meant... but wait. "Waiting for me? You know we aren't supposed to meet like this! What on earth are you doing?"

"What on earth, indeed. And all the other planets as well," eight said, a slight curl to his lips. "As for us meeting like this... let's just say it's vital for the future of this galaxy."

"Rubbish! Whatever for! And why here?"

"Because here is where it started."

"Where what started?"

Eight shook his head sadly. "You honestly don't remember, do you?"

"Remember what? Would you please make some sense?" Four asked, irritation creeping into his voice.

Eight turned a paced a few steps, clearly agitated. Then he turned to face his past again.

"When you first looked around, you thought you recognized this place. But at the same time, you didn't." Four nodded.

"That's because it looks very different than it did the last time you were here, a stop you made after Leela and before Romana."

Four frowned. Eight continued.

"In the reality of this galaxy, time has passed differently. Nearly fifty years have come and gone since you were here."

"Why don't I remember? And why do you remember?" Four asked.

"You don't remember because of the accident. I remember because I was drawn back here."

"Accident? What nonsense are you prattling on about?" Four demanded.

"Something hit your head during some turbulence. Hard. Do you remember that?"

"Yes, but I was fine."

"Fine, yes. But you had just left here. And the injury seems to have suppressed your memory."

"Memory of what?"

"Of when you were here. Of what happened."

"I haven't been here! I would remember this!" Four protested. "I'm a Time Lord! We don't forget things!"

"No, we don't," Eight said quietly. "Not usually. But this once, you did. And what you locked away after your fall has brought about the ruin of a galaxy."

"Have you lost our mind?" Four demanded. "I've never done any such thing!"

"O yes, you have."

"How?" Four asked.

"There is a woman here. You named her Parthenope." He watched his past self carefully, looking for any sign of recognition, but only found bewilderment.

"I named her, you say? But why..."

"Please, let me finish," Eight said. Four subsided. "She was the only inhabitant of the planet. She had no name, no memory of anything. You couldn't figure out why you'd landed here, so you decided she'd somehow brought the TARDIS here. You jokingly called her Parthenope, and she liked the name. So she kept it."

"And... this has what to do with what's going on?"

"If you'll let me explain, I shall tell you," Eight said.

Four exhaled loudly, but made no further comment.

Eight looked down, clearly uncomfortable with what he was about to say. "Parthenope was, is, well... in love with you."

"In love? With me?" Four's eyes popped wide open.


"Now, look here, young fellow," Four said gravely. "That simply isn't possible."

"Why not?"

"Because..." Four groped for a logical reason, and, that failing him, spluttered: "I'm the Doctor!"

Despite his mood, Eight was amused by the comment. "Well, no one can doubt that, certainly! But regardless, that's what happened. She is completely in love with you."

"All right, all right, let's just suppose that she is," Four said.

"How generous of you to take my word for it," Eight replied.

"I fail to see what some woman, who I can't even remember, being in love with me has to do with destroying a galaxy."

Eight sobered. "She's not just "some woman." She's a Psion."

"A Psion..." Four whispered. "That's impossible! The Psions were destroyed millennia ago!"

"That's what we thought. But she survived. Because another Psion managed to get her away in time. But he died. And after that, someone came here."


"The Master," Eight sighed.

"Blast!" Four shook his head. Was there no place safe from his infernal clutches? Evidently not. "And he left her be? That seems awfully charitable of him, and that isn't one of the Master's strong suits."

"She was in shock. Not fully recovered from the death of her friend. He planned to return later, when she was stronger, in control of herself and her powers."

"And I'll bet that, in her condition, he was able to influence her mind the first time he came, suppress her memories so that when he returned, she'd think he was her savior. It all makes sense now... assuming that she wouldn't have remembered once she'd recovered. But didn't he ever come back?"

"O, he did. But you see, she did recall what had happened. The Master greatly underestimated her. Not only that, you were here, and you didn't take kindly to his ideas. You were able to send him on his merry way, but before that he'd got into the TARDIS and messed things up pretty good."

"The repairs, then later the accident," Four mused.

Eight nodded and continued. "You were here for a good bit, getting the TARDIS working again. While you did that, you spent time with Parthenope. She never remembered anything more about herself while you were here. She had been alone for a time before the Master's visit: it's a wonder even someone as powerful as a Psion didn't go mad."

Four listened.

"After the TARDIS was fixed, you asked her if there was anywhere you could take her, if she wanted to go with you. She said that she had to stay there. She didn't know why, but she felt it. So you gave her your usual goodbye spiel and told her that you'd be back to visit."

"And I never did," Four surmised.

"No. You never did. Until I came." His gaze was significant, but the fourth doctor didn't understand. He said as much.

"Do you remember anything?" Eight asked, his gaze intense as he watched his younger self.

"No. But I believe you, as much as I don't like to. How can I not?" He added with a helpless shrug. "You're me."

"At least we've gotten that much established."

"So...why did you bring me back here? To have a friendly visit with her, smooth things out?" Curls flew about his face as he shook his head. "That doesn't seem quite right."

"No. It isn't just a matter of a friendly visit. Her loneliness has now driven her to the brink of insanity. Since she's been here, since you turned the Master away, no one else has come. Add into that the fact that she's been waiting for you for fifty years, you being the only person she remembers seeing, a person she fell in love with, and..." Here Eight stopped and squeezed his eyes closed for a moment. When he opened them they were darker.

"And?" Four prompted quietly.

"Bit by bit she has been destroying. Planets, stars, galaxies. This entire galaxy has become barren. She isn't doing it deliberately. It's..." He struggled to explain a concept that he understood yet did not understand. "It's more like it's the outward manifestation of her spirit. She's dying inside, and everything else is dying outside."


"By my estimation, this is the only planet left with any life on it," Eight said. "And it doesn't have much."

"So why didn't you talk to her and cheer her up? Get her out of here for goodness sake! Why won't she leave?!"

"She's still waiting for you," Eight said simply.

"But you are me," Four argued.

"Not to her, I'm not. And in a way, I'm really not you." He held up a hand to forestall Four's protests. "We're both the Doctor. But we're not the same, not really. And you know that as well as I."

"Yes, you're quite right," Four responded. He sighed. "So. What can I do?"

"Go to her. If I'm right, being with you will reverse what's happened, what will happen. Make her feel... alive and happy again."

"By doing what?"

"I don't know!" Eight exclaimed. "All I know is that is the only solution I can think of. If you have a better one I'll gladly listen."

"O, how dramatic you are," Four said. He started across the sand. "I'll clear this up."


Four stopped, something in Eight's tone, his calling him by their name, making him shiver inside.

Eight pointed towards the west. "She's that way. You'll know when you see trees and a pond. And remember: it took time for this to happen. It might take time and work to undo it."

"Time isn't really an issue for us, now is it?" Four murmured. He looked back and grinned before resuming his stride.

"No," Eight answered softly, watching him retreat, scarf trailing in the sand.

Four drudged on, pausing for a moment to absently wind his scarf more closely around his neck. He halted in mid-stride and stared at the cheerfully striped fabric. "My scarf! How did I get it back?"

/You never lost it. /

Four jumped at the sound of Eight's voice speaking in his mind. /How do you know? And what are you still doing here? I told you I'll take care of it./

/You might need my help. And I know because, well... I'm afraid I'm the one who made you think you'd lost it. /

/You? Why? /

/I needed to keep you distracted while I cross-linked with your TARDIS. I had to create a Synergy Wave./

/To bring me here?/

/Yes. Not an easy job, I might add. Lucky for me you weren't too far away at the time./

/That was not a nice thing to do to yourself./

/Probably not. But necessity isn't always nice./

Four scowled, letting the image, the emotion of it fill his thoughts before he plodded on. /And stay out of my head./

He saw it not long afterward, a circle of lush dark green leaves and the silver-blue glint of water. "An oasis in the desert," he remarked aloud softly.

An arid wind stirred his hair, carrying with it a faint scent of sweet musk. It was something he'd smelled before, somewhere: was it here? He still couldn't remember. It beckoned to him, tantalized his nostrils, filling him with a rush of exhilaration. He continued on until he stood on the edge of the refuge. He was suddenly gripped with an irrational desire to flee, to go back to the TARDIS and be gone. /Whatever is the matter with me?/He thought.

/Go on. You're just skittish./

/I thought I told you-/Four began.

/Yes, yes,/Eight interrupted wearily. /As soon as I know you can handle this I'll be off./

/Why would you even doubt it? I am the Doctor./

/As am I. But... some things even we can't be prepared for./

/Just a blasted minute!/Four retorted.

He felt Eight withdraw, retreating to some safe space just outside his immediate awareness. /And stay there,/ he muttered.

Well. No sense in delaying further, he realized. He absently ran a hand through his hair, then called out in what he hoped was his most charming manner: "I say, anyone home?"

Silence, save for the whispering wind. Four frowned. Eight spoke to him again. /She's on the other side./

/Why won't she answer me?/

/She can't. Or perhaps she can, but not yet. She's catatonic./

/Then how did you.../

/When I found her, and couldn't get her to speak, I finally touched her mind./

/And she still wouldn't respond?/

/I'm not you, remember? She doesn't know anything. She has no idea that while she's been sitting there she's destroyed countless worlds./

A shadow fell across Four's mind, the shadow of Eight's mental contact with her. It had been so brief, a matter of seconds, but long enough to make him afraid. Enough to make him bend and shape the rules of time and space to bring his younger self here to solve the problem.

/So, I'm the cavalry, eh? You think my mere presence will solve everything?/ Four asked, not quite joking.

/I think so. I hope so./

/What if you're wrong, and I'm not what she needs at all? I don't know if even I'm THAT extraordinary./

/Of course you are. You're the Doctor, remember?/

/Yes, but-/

/Shove on, now./

Four made a sound that could have been irritation, could have been agreement. He entered the dense tangle of trees, his footsteps slowing a bit as he gazed around him in amazement. The tree limbs were heavy with fruits, nuts, and flowers, with more flowers in thick violet and rose clusters springing from numerous bushes. A bed of woven leaves rested in the center, twined with more flowers in every imaginable hue. Birds twittered and sang to one another. The sweet musky odor again, stirring his senses anew...

In a sudden flash of insight, he thought: /She kept this one place alive and whole, waiting for me./

It took a few minutes to walk through, the other side blinding in its barren contrast to the small paradise he was exiting. He saw her, sitting cross-legged just outside the edge. Her back was to him, her head turned slightly, neck craning upward, giving her a swanlike appearance. Long dark hair fell straight down her back, splashed with glints of red. She wore a simple purple gauze dress. /That's just how she looked when I left-/

He remembered. Everything.

"Parthenope!" He gasped.

No response, but did he imagine just the tiniest movement of her head? He quickly walked to her side, kneeling next to her on the sand, searching her face for some sign of recognition. Her skin was pale as wax, the large dark green of her eyes showing no change, rich pink lips parted slightly but making no sound. She didn't even look like she was breathing, so still was her form. He repeated her name, then reached and took one of her hands in his. "It's me," he said urgently. "It's me, the Doctor! I've come back!"

A twitch of the arm, a few rapid blinks. She was struggling, he sensed, to reconnect with a world that had held no meaning for her for years. "I'm here, I came to see you," he whispered. His hand tightened on hers. "Parthenope, come on, come back to me, talk to me..."

The mouth opened a bit, lower lip quivering as she fought to find her voice. It was barely above a murmur, gravely and low, but she managed to say: "Doctor..."

"Yes!" He exclaimed. "I'm here! Look at me!"

Now she moved, a marionette on a string, jerky, and hesitant, but she turned her head. When she was face to face with him, her eyes widened and changed from green to the deepest violet he'd ever seen. Her tongue snaked out to lick her lips, her body trembling, as she drew a deep breath and spoke again, her voice louder, stronger: "Doctor!"

She moved, so quickly he was completely unprepared, and pushed him onto his back, leaning over him, her face radiating rapture, her mouth a wide smile. He smiled weakly in return.

"You're here," she breathed. "You came back."

"Yes, I'm here. I-"

He got no further before she laughed in hysterical delight and threw herself upon him, hugging him tight.

He returned her embrace, somewhat awkwardly, patting her shoulders reassuringly. "There, there, now. Why, you'd think I'd been gone for..." his voice trailed off as he remembered just how long he had been gone.

"Forever," she said. She released him and leaned over him, her face inches away from his. "I've waited so long for you," she whispered

He had no chance to respond. She took his face in her hands and kissed him.

For a few seconds he lay stunned. Then he became alarmed. /This is not good./

He moved to push her away. /What do you think you're doing!/ Eight exclaimed.

/What in blazes do you think? She's kissing me! I have to stop her!/

/Are you an idiot?/ Eight replied. /You can't do that!/

/What?! What do you mean, I can't do that! Are you an idiot?!/ He raised his hands.

/Listen to me,/ Eight said urgently. /I know you aren't used to this-/

/What an understatement!/ Four shouted mentally.

/But think for just a minute. You've just awakened a Psion from catatonia. A Psion who has wiped out ninety-nine percent of a galaxy while her mind was locked away pining for you. She's ecstatic, and extremely unstable. If you reject her right now, what do you think is going to happen?/


/Think about that! For years, all she has done is sit and breathe, she hasn't eaten, slept, moved. She hasn't aged, hasn't suffered at all for it. Don't you understand how powerful her mind is, that she could sustain herself even in that state? And you've just waltzed up and unlocked the box that she's been in!/

/Yes, yes! I understand that!/ Four answered. /But that doesn't help my current situation!/

/There isn't any help for it at the moment, dear boy./

/What are you saying?/

/Look, this isn't your fault. You didn't remember. But the fact is that right now you're the only link between her and reality./ Eight paused, then said matter-of-factly: /I'd advise you to make the best of it./

/Make the best of it? I can't do this!/

/Rubbish. You mean you don't want to./

/Of course I don't want to! I'm the Doctor! A Time Lord! That aside, even if I could put that aside, I hardly know her! And... and.../

/You're healing her, healing this galaxy. Think of it that way. Even now life is beginning again here. Slowly. But it can be reversed, just as I thought./

/So I'm supposed to, to just let this happen? There must be another way!/

/Then what is it!/ Eight snapped.

/I don't know! But this can't be the solution!/

/If you push her away now, she could kill you! Or herself! You might send her over the brink! Is that what you want?/


/I can help you,/ Eight said, his tone softening, coaxing.

/Help me, what, with this? Since when did we have a vast store of firsthand knowledge about sex?/

Eight laughed. He couldn't help it. /Since I became the Doctor. Since human elements were introduced into my system. And it isn't vast. But it's enough./

Four sighed. It was true. If he rejected her now, there was no telling what would happen. When he spoke again he sounded resigned. /What can I do? What can you do?/

/Just try to relax. Let my mind work with yours./

/Look here, I don't think I can manage anything if you're giving a soliloquy the entire time,/ Four said.

/No soliloquy, no monologue. I won't speak at all. I'm just going to be a conduit. All you have to do is follow my feelings.

/And then what?/

/With luck, you'll start to experience your own. If so, I'll gladly retreat and be gone./

/Let's get on with it, then./

/That's not the right attitude to have,/ Eight admonished.

/Why not? I'm being... violated./

/By choice./

/Because there is no other!/

/There is. But you're choosing to do the right thing, and that right thing isn't going to be attained by normal means in this case. For goodness sake, you've endured worse, done worse, to save lives!/

/I hate it when you're right,/ Four replied.

/I'm not always right. Now, be quiet and do something besides lie there. She's going to start to wonder soon./

/Do what?/

/Put your arms around her./


/Relax. Do what you feel me guiding you to do./

/And let nature take its course?/ Four couldn't resist the comment.


/I hope no one else ever finds out about this,/ Four said. He lowered his hands, hesitantly wrapped them around Parthenope's waist. No brains needed there: he'd seen countless humans and humanoids do it. He let his lips part beneath hers so she could deepen the kiss. Again, no problem. He'd seen many a kiss in his day. He knew how this was supposed to go. He just had no experience in this incarnation. /That's about to change,/ he thought dryly.

He was jolted by the sudden sound of her moaning. /I say, am I really causing her to feel this way?/ He was startled to think so. It was frightening... and intriguing.

He felt a slight increase in his heartbeats, and realized that Eight was focusing himself completely on the physical sensations Four's body was experiencing: her warm soft body on top of his, the silken pressure of her mouth. For the first time, he realized that this couldn't be easy for his other self, either, even if he did have some experience. He didn't know Parthenope, save for what he'd learned from touching her mind, and something told Four that he wasn't casual in matters of the flesh, or the heart. Yet here he was, the tenuous bridge between the coolness of one and the inferno of the other, trying to unite them in a mutual heat.

Parthenope's tongue teased the bottom corners of his mouth. He jerked, breath coming out in a sharp involuntary gasp. This was utterly alien to him. He couldn't! It wasn't possible! The sudden surge of fear made him gasp again, and he tried to pull away. But her arms were iron bands that had slipped around him, sealing his body against hers, and to his distress the Doctor found her strength was too much for him to free himself. He was pinned helplessly to her, held by the release of all her pent up hunger and sadness.

/Stop it!/ Eight snapped. /You're only making it harder on both of us./

/I can't.../ Four whispered.

/Yes you can. If you turned away from every problem, every obstacle you've faced before, where do you think you'd be now?/

/This is different. I can't, I don't.../

/Let me show you something./

Four had an image of his other self, on Earth, with a tall red haired woman. Grace, his mind whispered. He saw himself grabbing this woman and kissing her. He could feel her, taste her, dozens of sensations passing through him, new, tantalizing, like nothing he'd ever experienced, one mystery after another unraveling before his eager eyes, a denouement that was really one beginning after another...

Four struggled with the unfamiliar emotions, the sensory input that was almost too much even for him to withstand. But somehow he held on, let it flow from his older self into him, experienced the delight and wonder as if they were his own. There were other memories; his other self apparently visited this Grace woman on something of a regular basis. As regular as could be said for a Time Lord. There had been more than a kiss or two in some of these visits: much more. It was then that he understood what Eight wanted to do.

/Memory-based emotional transference,/ Four said.

/Yes. A bit dangerous, but it's the best idea I've got./

/All right,/he whispered. /I won't resist it./

/Are you certain?/ Eight asked.

/No. But I'll try my best./

/Then we'll start from there./

Eight hesitated, then gathered the emotions, wound them into a tight ball, and hurled them deep into Four's psyche.

The Doctor reeled, the sudden powerful mental impact making him weak, his body sagging against Parthenope's. She cradled him to her, lifted him effortlessly and walked into the paradise she had created so long ago to await his return. The doctor lay limp in her arms, head rolling back, dimly registering when she eased him down onto the woven bed. She stretched out beside him and pulled him to her, finding his lips with hers again. He sighed. The foreign sensation of physical desire wound itself through his mind, twined into his synapses, licked liquid fire along his veins. He struggled to accept it. He heard himself sigh again, the sound becoming a moan as the kiss intensified.

/Yes,/ Eight whispered. /It worked. Now let yourself go./

Four didn't respond. The need had rapidly shifted from a gentle rain into a maelstrom. It was pulling him-- no, hurtling him would be a better word-into the eye. Instead of panicking and trying to pull free, though, he was allowing it to carry him in. It was incredible, this feeling. There was nothing he could compare it to. Comparing night with day, sun with moon would be child's play against this. He was freezing and burning at the same time, trembling yet utterly still. Powerful beyond measure, but completely helpless. Little wonder Gallifreyans eschewed sex. How could one think with so much blood pounding into the brain!

She rose and removed her dress, and with the surge of sexual energy his future self had imbued in him the Doctor suddenly discovered that thinking wasn't what he wanted to do at all...

He didn't know how much time had passed, when he'd fallen asleep, or why. It wasn't as thought he needed it... was it? It was possible that Time Lords had the same physical reactions to sex as humans. His own experience with the act was so limited, and from so long ago, he wasn't certain. But it didn't matter really. He was awake now, and now that he'd started Parthenope down the path of healing he could take his leave.

He rose and dressed, wondering where she was, where his other self was. When he stepped outside the circle of the forest he found part of the answer to his ponderings. Parthenope stood watching the setting suns, her back to him. He noticed that she was now wearing a dress in a shade of dark green and wondered where the garment had come from. Then he snorted. Of course: his future self. Doubtless he'd left her with a new wardrobe to get her started. He wondered where she'd like to go. Having been here for so long, she'd definitely need some guidance on another planet to help her adjust. Well, he could take some time for that.

He opened his mouth to greet her, but before he could speak she said: "Hello, Doctor."

He blinked in surprise. "How did you know I was behind you?"

"I feel you," she said simply.

"Ah." He wasn't quite sure what to make of that. He settled for clearing his throat. "Parthenope, have you by chance--"

"Seen your other self? Yes." Her voice was as light and soft as the breeze blowing through the air. "He has departed now."

"Ah." He sighed, then frowned. He did so hate to sound like a broken record.

"He explained to me who he was, and why he was here," she continued. She glanced back at him. "Unnecessary, however. I knew all that when he first touched my mind with his."

"You knew? You felt him and knew it was me and you still didn't come round?" The Doctor asked.

Now she turned to face him, and he felt a vague sense of unease for no reason he could explain.

"He was not you. Only you are you," she said, her tone that of a teacher explaining something to a student.

"Well, I am rather unique, aren't I?" He grinned. He stuck a hand into his coat pocket. "Look, Parthenope, there are some things we need to sort out before we leave..."

She said nothing, only watched him.

The Doctor frowned. He dug deeper, then switched hands, then pockets. None of these actions helped. The TARDIS key was missing. Hard to tell where it had fallen out at, but most likely in the little sanctuary when he'd stripped and been stripped of his clothes. Shouldn't take long to find.

"Parthenope, I seem to have misplaced something, perhaps you'd be so good as to help me look for it. It's-"

"The key to your vessel," she finished.

He felt perplexed, but shrugged it off. Perhaps his... activities with her had created a temporary linking of their minds to some degree. Nothing they couldn't dissolve. "Yes," he answered. But then curiosity got the best of him. "How did you know I was going to ask about that?"

She looked slightly surprised. "It would only be natural for you to ask about something that was missing."

The feeling of unease returned threefold. His eyes narrowed as he stared at her. "How did you know it was missing?"

Her gaze was calm. "Because I took it."

"We-ell, yes, that would explain it, now wouldn't it?" He smiled, but the smile did not reach his eyes. "Perhaps you'd be so kind as to tell me why you did that."

She looked perplexed, as if the answer should have been obvious. "Because if I hadn't, you might have tried to leave."

The smile widened, but it was not pleasant. It looked cracked and brittle on his face. "I see. And you don't intend to allow me to leave, I take it?"

She didn't reply.

He shook his head, partly in sadness, partly in understanding. "I was off the mark when I named you," he murmured. "I should've called you Calypso."

She titled her head, curious. "Who is Calypso?"

"It's from a very old story entitled The Odyssey from a planet called Earth, written by the Greek poet Homer. Odysseus was a man trying to return home when he was shipwrecked on an island where a nymph named Calypso lived."

He had her attention, which was what he'd hoped. He continued. "Calypso had been by herself on her paradise of an island for many years. She was very lonely before Odysseus came. She wanted him to stay with her, but he wanted to go home and he refused. So she kept him prisoner there, made him stay with her to keep her company." His eyes narrowed again. "Is that what you're doing?"

She turned away from him.

In three strides he was in front of her, gripping her by the shoulders, staring hard into her eyes. "Are you going to keep me here?"

She stepped away from him, her eyes smoky, unreadable. "So what happened to him, and to Calypso?" She asked.

He closed the gap between them, but made no attempt to touch her. "She kept him there for seven years before the Gods decided it was time for him to be freed. They sent a messenger to Calypso and ordered her to let him go. The next day he set sail."

She smiled. "I do not think the Gods from a made-up story will have you set free, Doctor."

"Probably not," he said grimly. He looked into her eyes again, and his voice softened, became coaxing. "But surely you know you can't keep me here."

"I know nothing of the sort," she replied. "Why can I not?"

"Because I don't want to stay!" He snapped, wincing at the harshness of his voice, the momentary lapse of his control.

"What does what you want have to do with my ability to stop you from leaving?" She asked, amused.

"Apparently, nothing," he retorted. He drew a breath, forced himself to regain his composure. "Parthenope, why will you not let me leave?"

She looked at the sand. "The last time you left, you said you'd come back." She returned her eyes to his, and for the first time he saw the pain, the hurt, the imagined betrayal. "You never did."

"But that wasn't my fault!" He protested. "You know that! If you've seen my thoughts you know that!"

"It doesn't matter," she said, her voice now cold, distant. "I won't take that chance again."

"What you are doing is kidnapping! Illegal, immoral, and insane!"

She made no reply.

"You are going to give me my key, I am going to leave, and I will send someone here to help you," he said firmly.

"No," she answered, equally firmly. "You will not leave, and we shall stay here together."

"Parthenope, don't make me do something I'll regret," he said sternly.

"Such as?" She laughed. "We both know you won't hurt me. That would go against everything you stand for."

He ignored the comment. "Tell me where you hid the key," he said.


"Parthenope!" He shouted. "I have had quite enough of this!"

"And so have I!" She retorted. "You are staying here, Doctor, and that is final!"

"No it bloody well isn't!" He made to grasp her shoulders again, then realized what he was about to do and jerked his hands to his sides. He was breathing rapidly. That blasted emotion transfer, he realized. It had made him receptive to more than just passion. It would wear off soon, but until it did he had to keep himself in check. She was obviously unstable and he didn't want to push too hard too fast. He decided to take a different approach.

"All right, have it your way," he huffed.

She watched him warily.

"You're right: I can't hurt you or even threaten to. It's not who I am. But you'll get no company out of me. You might be able to keep me here, but that's the extent of it. And eventually I will find where you've hidden the key." He turned and started walking.

"Where are you going?"

"I don't know, and even if I did I wouldn't tell you," he said haughtily.


He stopped and turned, curious as to the sudden change in her voice.

"It gets very tiresome being alone, you know." She said softly. "Or actually, I don't think you do know. I don't think you have much of an idea of what that's like. But you will."

"I never met the man as companionable as solitude," he retorted.

"Is that your Homer again?"

"No, that's Ralph Waldo Emerson. Same planet, though."

"It does not matter. You are going to come back, Doctor. You'll grow weary of it. Besides," she added, "The only food and water here is where I am."

"I'm sure I'll manage somehow," he answered, though in truth he'd forgotten that. Food he could do without for a while, but not water.

"You may come get both whenever you like."

"Not going to charge me for them, eh? How generous of you."

She laughed. "I am going to leave you be, Doctor. You shall come to me of your own free will."

"As long as I am a prisoner on this planet I will never come to you of my own free will," he said, anger and conviction hardening his voice.

His words didn't seem to bother her. "I am patient."

"And what happens if your patience runs out?" He asked.

She smiled. "Then I do as the Calypso of the story did and compel you to come to me."

He stared at her, a sudden tremor of fear shaking him.

"You neglected to tell me that part of the story," she said smoothly. "Fortunate that I saw it in your thoughts."

"Not for me it wasn't," he hissed, turning back around and walking away. As he did he called out to her sharply: "And stay out of my head!"

* * * * * *

"You know, the Doctor remarked conversationally, "I do believe I might be the first Time Lord in Gallifrey's history to die and regenerate of boredom."

He wasn't certain what he was addressing this comment to: the air, the suns, or the ground. None of them deigned to give him a response, so it didn't really matter. What mattered was that he'd been out here for eight days engaging in this battle of wills with Parthenope.

He was winning. Maybe. Or maybe not.

He'd spent this time walking about, examining his surroundings even thought he knew it would all be the same. He'd sang a good bit, talked to himself aloud a great deal more. There was literally nothing for him to do. Well, next to nothing, and what things he could do he'd already done several times.

The first time he'd gone back to where she was to get water he'd been wary. Then he'd told himself that was foolishness on his part: if she wanted to do something to him, how could he stop her? He wasn't sure if it would be possible. Since her mind had reawakened she'd come back to reality-and using her powers-with frightening speed. He began to see why the Psions had been subjected to genocide. Mentally they were extremely formidable, even more so than Time Lords. He might have the ability to travel from place to place, but he did not have the ability to transform his surroundings once there.

Parthenope had already begun to make changes. Not large ones, not harmful ones, either. She hadn't even made herself known to him when he'd gone to get water. He'd stayed only long enough to drink some and then bolted. But when he awoke later that day from a nap there was a water skin beside him, large enough to hold a day's supply at once. He'd scowled, but grudgingly used it. The water it held stayed cold and sweet all day, despite the heat.

Even the heat was not so bad now: it was much cooler than when he'd first arrived. He'd pondered this as well: did she know his normal body temperature was lower than hers? Probably, he'd decided. There was no rain, no humidity, and every night the pale green moons cast a gentle light upon him. There were cool breezes every half hour, like clockwork. On the second night he'd slept for a bit, out of boredom more than actually needing rest, curling up on his coat and pillowing his head on his scarf. He'd half expected to awaken in a feather bed with plump down pillows, or maybe even in her lair. But no. There was, however, a bathroom about fifteen feet away from him. A perfectly normal looking bathroom, complete with shower, tub, toilet and sink, all done tastefully in soft white ceramic and steel. A large wicker basket stood in one corner, presumably a laundry basket.

"Is this a hint that I smell?" He shouted into the air. There was no response.

He made a few harrumphing noises, but went inside and took a long soak. When he was finished and took his clothes back out of the basket they were clean and had a faint pleasant scent to them. The bathroom dissolved back into the nothingness it had been created from, but he suspected that he could wish it back whenever he wanted. He was still furious with her for holding him captive, but at least she was seeing to his basic needs.

The third day his hunger had finally prompted him to seek food as well, and he trudged back to the oasis. The bathroom water was only good for him to clean himself: when he tried to pour water into his water skin from the tub or sink the room immediately vanished. It seemed that, although she left him be when he came for water, she liked his daily sojourn. Since he had no choice, he kept going.

Today he found himself staring at some new trees. He'd expected more of the citrus fruits, but these were gone. They had been replaced with what appeared to be a sandwich tree, a drink tree, and a jelly baby tree.

He approached the sandwich tree. The sandwiches hung neatly from branches, all identical. There were three of them. He sighed. He had to eat. He imagined she knew he wouldn't starve himself. He knew without being told that she would intervene if he attempted any sort of harm on his person. And at any rate, that wasn't his way.

He pulled a sandwich off with ease and examined it. It was pastrami on rye with mustard, lettuce and tomato, just the way he liked it. The drink tree had a glass of iced tea waiting for him. A picnic cloth appeared on the ground, set with plate and linen napkin. He deliberately ignored it and stood by the trees munching on the sandwich, which to his dismay was exceedingly good. He drank some tea, which was also good, and looked around.

"Am I supposed to be grateful that you've been mucking about in my mind?" He called out. "Poking in my mental closets, prying into my storage boxes? Well I'm not, not one bit. You've no right to do that, none at all. I'd tell you to stop but I know it would do me no good, would it? You've no care about what you're doing. None at all."

He paused, waiting to see if she made any sort of response. But nothing happened. The breeze didn't even change. He finished eating and dropped the cup to the picnic cloth, then (somewhat regretfully) passed by the jelly baby tree and started back to where he spent his time. When he'd taken about a dozen steps he stopped.

"Just tell me one thing. What are you going to do when my other self comes back? Frankly, I don't even understand how you got him to leave, with him remembering all this. But let me assure you, when the time comes for him to return-"

"There will be no such time, because there is no such time."

He whirled about, staring at her. She was a few feet away; looking at him with a sad, gentle expression.

"What do you mean, there is no such time?" He asked.

"Your future self made what is called a Synergy wave to bring you here."

"I know that," he snapped peevishly. "So?"

"The creation of such a wave is accomplished by the cross-connection of time streams. As you slept, I altered the patterns of the wave."

The blood drained from the Doctor's face. "You did what?" He whispered.

She nodded. "I changed the weave of the fabric your future self had spun. Altered it back in time. He will not be returning, because now he no longer exists in this time stream."

"That's murder!" The Doctor roared.

"No. He is very much alive, and in his own time stream. It is his memories that are no longer the same. He remembers this event as you both leaving and everything being put to rights, as he perceived it. He has no reason to return... because to him, you no longer exist. You were you and he is him."

He stared in horrified comprehension. "He doesn't know what you did. He thinks everything went as he planned. He..."


His shoulders slumped.

"So you see, there will be no Doctors, Gods, or anyone else coming to rescue you," she said quietly. "You belong to me now."

"I will never belong to you!" He shouted, and took off.

* * * * * *

Five days had passed since then. He'd neither eaten nor slept. He still got water and he still bathed, but that was the extent of it. And he was bored. Incredibly bored. And confused.

He'd expected her to come running to him. But she had not. He now wondered if she ever would. He had assumed because of her feelings for him that she would have been pleading with or threatening him by now. But nothing. He hated nothing. But he'd just have to deal with it.

* * * * * *

Another six days.

By now the Doctor was reaching a breaking point. He knew that if she came to him, it would be because she was at her breaking point as well. And he was far more concerned about hers than he was his. The worst part was, he had no idea of exactly what she was capable of. She could obviously manipulate minds, even one as strong as a Time Lord's. She could alter the fabric of time itself, at least where this galaxy was concerned. She could create simple matter, animate, but nothing complex. At least he didn't think so. And she could destroy. Remembering the images of those desolate wasted worlds he'd seen in his other self's mind made him shiver. What if she did that again?

No, he decided. She wasn't cruel, or harmful. Well, other than his imprisonment. But she was taking care of him, respecting his wishes as much as possible. She was lonely, possibly mad, definitely terrified of being without him. That made her dangerous, and vulnerable, but not necessarily evil. He did have sympathy for what she'd endured. She could still be helped, he was certain of that. But neither one of them would be helped by continuing this game.

"Right," he muttered. What was it someone had said to him once? The best way to untie the Gordian Knot was to cut it in half?

He rose, smiled, and started walking. "Let's just put that to the test."

When he reached the outskirts of her circle he paused. He was about to play a very dangerous game. But he had to do it; he had to know how far she was willing to go at this point. So he braced himself and walked in.

"Ah! There you are," he said cheerfully as he entered. And stopped.

Where there had been little more than a pallet of woven branches before now stood a king size four-poster wooden bed. Complete with a dark red quilt and sheets and pillowcases to match.

"Very nice," he murmured. Then he realized something. "That didn't come from my mind, I've never seen that before!"

"It was my bed at my former home, before the war."

He looked at her as she crossed into his line of vision. Again a dress of soft gauzy material, only today it was black.

He nodded. "Lovely."

"Why are you here?" She asked.

"Yes, quite a magnificent bed indeed," he said, his tone light. He moved to stand beside it. Locking eyes with her, he slowly tugged at his scarf until it fell in a heap on the ground. With feigned casualness he began to unbutton his vest.

"What are you doing?"

"What does it look like?"

"It looks like you are removing your clothes."

He grinned. "You ARE perceptive!" He finished unbuttoning the vest and let it fall beside the scarf.


"You win," he said simply.


"You were right. I can't fight you forever; we both know that. I'm giving in to you. I surrender. If I had a white flag I'd wave it." As he spoke he began to unfasten his shirt. "Why does everything I wear have so many blasted buttons?" He muttered.

"Doctor, what are you talking about?"

"Oh, come now!" He scoffed as he continued unbuttoning. You know perfectly well what I'm talking about! Mind you, I can't promise anything as good as the first time unless you want to give my mental libido a boost, but I think I can still manage." He finished his task and dropped the shirt, then glanced up to study her reaction. She appeared to be shocked.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and smiled. "Do be gentle with me, I'm not used to this in this body."

"Doctor..." She said, her tone uneasy.

He clapped a hand to his forehead. "Of course! How silly of me! You wanted to undress me yourself, didn't you? Nice and slow so you could enjoy having me under your control. Sorry about that. I do still have the bottom half, though." He gave her his best mischievous grin.

"Doctor, I don't think..."

"Oh, don't worry about me making a fuss. I already told you I know you've got me, didn't I? I won't resist you. If you like, I'll even try to enjoy it."

"Doctor!" She cried.

"Of course, I'm sure you could do something about that, too, couldn't you?" He continued relentlessly. "Put irresistible desire in my mind, make me think that I want it, make it impossible for me to withstand you..."

"Stop it!" She screamed, turning away from him.

"Why?" He asked her, his voice harsh. He rose and moved to stand before her. "Isn't this what you want? To make me submit to you? To give myself over?"

She didn't answer.

"And you could do that, couldn't you?" He asked softly. "You could tamper with my mind, make me want you so bad I couldn't fight it even if I hated doing it. You've taken things from me, we both know it would be easy for you." His voice dropped to a whisper. "So why haven't you done it?"

She shook her head, a tear slipping down one cheek. "No. Not like this."

"What do you mean, not like this?" He asked.

"I don't want you like this!" She cried. "I want you to come to me willingly."

"I have! I'm here, aren't I?"

"But you aren't really willing," she said. "You're only doing this because you think you have to yield to what you think is the inevitable."

"Well isn't it?" He asked, voice still harsh though somewhat quieter. "If I don't come to you on my own how long do you think it would be before you forced me? Not too much longer, I'd say. And given the choice of you pressing your will into my mind or coming here of my own doing, I chose the latter." He stalked back to the bed and sat down. "So here I am, Parthenope," he said. "I've handed myself over to you. All I ask is that you stay out of my psyche. Do that, and I'm yours completely."